I sat up all night in breathless anticipation to watch the Australian Grand Prix and was rewarded by a good race (by today’s overtaking-free standards at least), a timely win for McLaren, the suggestion that Ferrari may not be as far off the pace as we’d feared and no points at all for Williams which, through its brilliance, is easily the most likely source of late season tedium.
Yet it is none of the above that most keenly occupies my mind. It is Jim Rosenthal. I was pleasantly surprised by the bulk of ITV’s coverage: Murray on fine form, Brundle unexpectedly brilliant, the studio punditry informed and interesting, but all was overshadowed by the grinning vacancy of Mr Rosenthal. Steve Ryder may not be the most scintillating host but at least he cared about Formula One and spoke with the benefit of knowledge and, on occasion, even passion.
Rosenthal appeared to me to be out of touch, unable to pull the programme around him and helplessly reliant on Simon Taylor and Tony Jardine to provide vital authority.
ITV should have thought more carefully before surrounding its captain with a platoon of abler lieutenants. If it wanted to present F1 to the lowest common denominator, hiring such professionals as Walker, Brundle and Taylor was a grave error. I submit that Rosenthal would have been at rather greater ease with Eamonn Holmes in the studio and Ulrika Jonsson in the pit lane. And he would have looked merely bland, not blethering.
I AM YOURS, ETC,
GILES NEWTON, LLANISHEN